In the article previously posted to this site, we focused upon the effects of section 7 of The Food Safety Act 1990 (‘the Act’) and the potential consequences of failing to comply.

John Veale of Kangs Solicitors now comments upon sections 14 & 15 of the Act.

The team at Kangs Solicitors has vast experience and is highly regarded nationwide for assisting clients facing serious crime allegations of every nature, including those involving regulatory offences, where investigations/prosecutions have been carried out by the Food Standards Agency, local authority or other regulatory authority.

For an initial no obligation discussion, please call our Team at any of our offices detailed below:

The Offences | Kangs Food Offences Defence Solicitors

Section 14 of the Act states:

‘Selling food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded.

  • Any person who sells to the purchaser’s prejudice any food which is not of the nature or substance or quality demanded by the purchaser shall be guilty of an offence.
  • Reference to sale shall be construed as a reference to sale for human consumption; and in proceedings under this section it shall not be a defence that the purchaser was not prejudiced because they bought the food for analysis or examination.’

Section 15 of the Act states:

‘Falsely describing or presenting food.

(1)   Any person who gives with any food sold by him, or displays with any food offered or exposed by him for sale or in his possession for the purpose of sale, a label, whether or not attached to or printed on the wrapper or container, which-

(a) falsely describes the food; or

(b) is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of the food

shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Any person who publishes, or is a party to the publication of, an advertisement (not being such a label given or displayed by him as mentioned in subsection (1) above) which—

(a) which falsely describes any food; or

(b) is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of any food,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(3) Any person who sells, or offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession for the purpose of sale, any food the presentation of which is likely to mislead as to the nature or substance or quality of the food shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) In proceedings for an offence s under subsection (1) or (2) above the fact that a label or advertisement in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed contained an accurate statement of the composition of the food shall not preclude the court from finding that the offence was committed.

(5) In this section references to sale shall be construed as references to sale for human consumption.’

Section 20 of the Act states:

‘Offences due to fault of another person.

Where the commission by any person of an offence under any of the preceding provisions of this Part is due to an act or default of some other person, that other person shall be guilty of the offence; and a person may be charged with and convicted of the offence by virtue of this section whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.’

Potential Defence | Kangs Food Hygiene Offences Defence Solicitors

As with the offence covered by Section 7 in our previous article, Section 21 of the Act provides a defence of Due Diligence in the same terms namely:

‘(1) In any proceedings for an offence under any of the preceding provisions …. it shall, … be a defence for the person charged to prove that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence by himself or by a person under his control.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, a person charged with an offence …who neither—

(a) prepared the food in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed; nor

(b) imported it into Great Britain,

shall be taken to have established the defence provided by that subsection if he satisfies the requirements of subsection (3) or (4) below.

(3) A person satisfies the requirements of this subsection if he proves—

(a) that the commission of the offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under his control, or to reliance on information supplied by such a person;

(b) that he carried out all such checks of the food in question as were reasonable in all the circumstances, or that it was reasonable in all the circumstances for him to rely on checks carried out by the person who supplied the food to him; and

(c) that he did not know and had no reason to suspect at the time of the commission of the alleged offence that his act or omission would amount to an offence under the relevant provision.

(4) A person satisfies the requirements of this subsection if he proves—

(a) that the commission of the offence was due to an act or default of another person who was not under his control, or to reliance on information supplied by such a person;

(b) that the sale or intended sale of which the alleged offence consisted was not a sale or intended sale under his name or mark; and

(c) that he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence that his act or omission would amount to an offence under the relevant provision.’

Penalties Upon Conviction | Kangs Food Safety Solicitors

Section 35 of the Act provides that a person guilty of an offence shall be liable:

  • on summary conviction: i.e before a Magistrates’ Court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, a fine or both;
  • on conviction on indictment: i.e before a Crown Court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, a fine, or both.

Who Can I Contact for Advice & Help? | Kangs National Food Hygiene Solicitors

If you are subject, or anticipate becoming subject, to any investigation by The Food Standards Agency, local authority or other prosecuting authority in connection with any alleged offence relating to any food or food provision services you should seek expert advice immediately.

Please do not hesitate to contact the team at Kangs Solicitors through any of the following who will be pleased to speak to you:

Hamraj Kang
hkang@kangssolicitors.co.uk
07976 258171 | 0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210